A lot of people don’t figure out what they want to do professionally until college—or later. Brady Veal of Bloomington knew when was 8. At one of his first 4-H club meetings, there was a demo with a robot that responded to computer commands. Brady thought it was amazing and got hooked on computer science. He eventually became the team’s lead programmer. “I thought it was so cool that I could be the one to decide what it would do, where it would go, and how it would do it,” Brady said. “And it was exactly how I programmed it. It wasn’t like it had a mind of its own. You were the one telling it what to do.” Brady is now part of the first cohort of Unit 5 high school students in a new computer science program with Heartland Community College. When Brady graduates Normal West in May 2021, he’ll leave with both a high school diploma and his associate’s degree from Heartland. It’s the next step in a longstanding partnership between Unit 5 and Heartland. For years they’ve offered dual credit, or classes where students can earn college credit without having to leave their high school—and without taking an Advanced Placement (AP) test. There are 277 Unit 5 high school students taking one...